Apple has launched a series of free augmented reality art tours featuring newly commissioned pieces by seven leading contemporary artists including Nick Cave, Cao Fei and Carsten Höller. The [AR]T Walk tours are taking place in six major global cities: London, New York, San Francisco, Paris, Hong Kong and Tokyo, virtually installed in public places such as Trafalgar Square.
New York’s New Museum co-curated the artist roster, which also includes Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, John Giorno and Pipilotti Rist, who were invited to reimagine or invent new ways to express core themes of their art practice using AR. For example, Through by Höller takes viewers through a portal into a world with no perspective, Cao Fei’s Trade Eden is “part fun-house part automated factory, testing the viewer’s dexterity for packaged goods while imagining new useless machines”.
“Augmented reality is a medium ripe for dynamic and visual storytelling,” says the New Museum’s Lisa Phillips, “that can extend an artist’s practice beyond the studio or the gallery and into the urban fabric.”
In 2017, Snapchat collaborated with artist Jeff Koons on a similar project where AR versions of his best-known sculptures could be viewed via the social media app in tourist hotspots, such as the Eiffel Tower lawn and, again, Trafalgar Square. Soon after, artist Sebastian Errazuriz reacted in protest of what he called “AR corporate invasion” by creating an identical 3D AR Balloon Dog covered in graffiti, geo-tagged with the exact same coordinates as the original.
Since then, AR art has progressed, and art and tech are becoming more intertwined, with the Louvre recently revealing its work on a VR experience involving the Mona Lisa.
Apple’s [AR]T programme doesn’t stop at tours; the company will also be running [AR]T Lab with artist Sarah Rothberg, where attendees can learn how to create their own AR experiences with Swift Playgrounds, and play with objects and sounds created by Rothberg.
Meanwhile, visitors to any Apple Store worldwide will be able to view Nick Cave’s interactive AR installation Amass, which apparently “takes the viewer on a journey to view and collect ‘Ikon Elements’ and experience a universe of positive energy”.
All the [AR]T sessions launch on 10 August.